India rejects Trump's fresh offer to mediate with Pak

India on Friday reiterated its position on its bilateral dispute with Pakistan on Kashmir – rejecting the United States President Donald Trump's fresh offer to play the role of mediator.

Hours after Trump reiterated in Washington D.C. his offer to mediate between New Delhi and Islamabad to help settle the dispute over Kashmir, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told his US counterpart and Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, in Bangkok that no third party had any role in resolving the outstanding bilateral issue between the two South Asian neighbours.

Jaishankar and Pompeo had a bilateral meeting on the sideline of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Bangkok early on Friday.

“Have conveyed to American counterpart @SecPompeo this morning in clear terms that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally,” External Affairs Minister posted on Twitter after his meeting with US Secretary of State.

His tweet came after US President reiterated in Washington D.C. late on Thursday that he was ready to “intervene” to help resolve disputes between India and Pakistan if Prime Ministers of the two South Asian neighbours – Narendra Modi and Imran Khan – wanted him to.

“I think they are fantastic people—Khan and Modi—I mean, I would imagine they could get along very well. But if they wanted somebody to intervene, to help them... and I spoke with Pakistan about that and I spoke frankly about it that battle has been going on for a long time,” said the US President, adding: “If I can, if they wanted me to, I would certainly intervene”.

Trump's latest offer to “intervene” came just less than a fortnight after New Delhi strongly refuted his claim that Modi, himself, had requested him during a recent meeting at Osaka in Japan to mediate between the two South Asian nations to help resolve the dispute over Kashmir.

The US President's remark had gone against New Delhi's long-standing position that the Simla Agreement in 1972 signed by India Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the then Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, had left no scope for any third party to get involved in the process to resolve the “outstanding issues” between the two nations. The principle of the Shimla Agreement had again been reaffirmed by Lahore Declaration issued by then Prime Minister A B Vajpayee and his then Pakistani counterpart M Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

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